The dangers of thumb and finger sucking

Advanced Dental Care Clinic Gold Coast, are able to treat dental problems that have occurred from children thumb and finger sucking.

Although it is a natural instinct for babies to suck when born for nourishment, they may to continue to suck their fingers or thumb into their toddler years as a way to comfort themselves when they are hungry, tired, restless, anxious or feeling scared.

Usually very young children grow out of thumb and finger sucking by 4 years of age however there is a significant risk of dental and speech problems the longer the child sucks their fingers and thumbs.

The premier dentist at Advanced Dental Care Clinic, Dr Ruth Parrag, sees a number of child patients at her dental clinic who have teeth that have become problematic as a result of prolonged thumb or finger sucking.

Here, Advanced Dental Care Clinic shares some information for parents on the significant dental and speech problems that thumb and finger sucking can cause include:

  • Malformation of bite
  • Malformation of roof of mouth
  • Improperly aligned teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Speech impediments
  • Lisping
  • Tongue thrusting
  • Spread of germs
  • Infected and callused fingers and thumbs


Apart from the physical problems that can result from prolonged thumb and finger sucking, a child can also experience social problems and teasing from their peers.

Thumb and finger sucking can lead to the need for treatment, not just at the dentist but with an orthodontist where oral appliances may need to be fitted to rectify the malformations to the teeth and jaw.

In most cases of dentistry, prevention is the best cure.  There are ways to help a child to stop sucking their thumbs and fingers:

  • Always reinforce positive behaviour when the child is not sucking on their thumbs or fingers
  • Identify times when the child sucks their digits (e.g. boredom or when upset) and provide a gentle distraction or help them to soothe themselves in other ways
  • If the child is old enough, talk to them about how you would like them to stop and reward them when they achieve this

If you have a child that is thumb or finger sucking and you are concerned about their teeth, call Advanced Dental Care Clinic at Oxenford, Gold Coast to make an appointment with Dr Parrag.